Can Patience Boost Productivity?
Patience, or Sabr, has many benefits, but we all know it may not always be easy to be patient. Find out how you can develop this virtue and its impact on both your worldly and spiritual productivity.
The Arabic term (sabr) is often translated as:
- Perseverance or
We all know the virtues and importance of sabr – because Allah tells us in the Qur’an that He is with the patient (Surah Baqarah, verse 153); and religious lectures, books, and wise people often exhort us to this quality. We also have amazing, real-life examples of sabr – where our greatest role models bore sabr and received incredible rewards for it, both in this life and the next. Think especially of prophets Yusuf and Ayyub (peace be upon the both).
Sabr has many, many benefits – but does it aid productivity?
We can divide the answer into two areas:
- Worldly life
- Religious life
Productivity Benefits of Sabr in Dunya
Consider your school or working life. Say you’ve got a big assignment to do and you really, really don’t like the work at all. Perhaps the content isn’t stimulating enough, or you believe the work is too difficult for you, or maybe you’re only doing it to help someone out – even though you don’t really want to.
Many of us will make a start, but when we run into the first obstacle, the trouble begins. Our minds give us numerous excuses to ‘take a break’ from the work. We’ll find other things to do – things that are ‘more important’ – and we’ll end up leaving the assignment until the last minute (or if it’s not compulsory, we may completely forget it).
Procrastination strikes even the best of us, but bearing sabr is a surefire way to break it. Sabr in your work – particularly work you don’t want to do – makes you more productive, because instead of procrastinating, you force yourself to do the work. You find ways to break the task down and ways to make the work bearable – both of which enable you to get the work done. In doing so, you also push your own limits beyond the restrictions of your mind.
Other than work, applying sabr can enhance your productivity in many other areas of ‘worldly’ life: administrative tasks, cleaning or tidying up your house or room, fixing broken things, organizing your cupboards, and so much more.
Feel the Benefits of Sabr in Your Faith
We know that the patient – the sabirun – will, insha Allah, acquire tremendous reward in the Hereafter because of the way they bore this life’s trials with sabr.
But on an everyday level – where major trials are few and far between – sabr can help us tremendously in this life, in our deen. Let’s take an example (which is based on a true story, by the way):
Let’s say Hamza struggles to read Qur’an. He finds Arabic difficult to read and this obstacle makes him so disillusioned that he wants to just leave aside the recitation, and restrict it to only occasional reading. After all, why put himself through so much trouble when he doesn’t even understand what he’s reading? Isn’t it better to just read a translation of the meaning? Can’t he benefit more from that?
Hamza knows the answer is ‘no’. Understanding is necessary, yes, but recitation in the original Arabic form is crucial. So he fights the temptations and chooses to bear sabr in this struggle, knowing that ”…the one who recites the Qur’an beautifully… will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels. And as for the one who recites with difficulty, stammering or stumbling through its verses, then he will have a double reward.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
He also knows that gradualism is one of the most important advices in Islam: ”The deeds most loved by Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) (are those) done regularly, even if they are small.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
So he patiently perseveres, deciding to read a very small amount each day – just two verses. This small, manageable, and consistent effort is a tremendous venture in Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) consideration and, over time, Hamza finds recitation getting easier and easier; so he increases his daily quota.
Eventually, he can read so much more that he wants to deepen his Qur’anic recitation in other ways, by refining his tajweed, and starting to learn Arabic. So this small start flourished into great results, which enabled Hamza to be more and more productive in his spiritual life.
The application of that sabr can be applied to any area of deen, such as seeking beneficial knowledge, improving your character, and building your eman and taqwa to greater and greater levels.
Building the Sabr Muscle
In Hamza’s example, it’s obvious that his progress was due to the blessing of Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) – the barakah he gained by having sabr and striving to overcome his own personal weakness.
But his progress was also down to the consistency he maintained. Just like daily exercise helps you build your strength and muscle, that little bit of Qur’an each day helped train Hamza, and the end result was the kind of strength and spiritual productivity that he never thought he’d have.
6 Steps to Help You Develop Sabr
There are many ways, but one which may be very effective – and follows the gradualism principle mentioned above – is to enforce ‘practice periods’.
1). Firstly, make niyyah to become more patient in specific areas, and make dua asking Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) to grant you more patience in those areas. After all, Ali ibn Abi Talib raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) reportedly said:
“Patience means to seek Allah’s help”
(Patience and Gratitude Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah p.12).
2). Next, consider an area of life you know you’re impatient in – for example, one that impedes your productivity.
3). List the triggers that cause negative results in those situations. (Negative results could include procrastination, working slowly, getting angry, or displaying irritation and impatience.)
4). The next time you hit that situation, tell yourself that you’ll try to endure it with sabr for just five minutes. For those five minutes, you won’t react in those normal, negative ways. You’ll bear it with sabr, and will try to get through it in the most productive way.
5). From now on, when you’re in this situation, try to do the same thing: force yourself to bear sabr for those few minutes, and take note of whether it’s getting easier and easier. (If not, change your strategy – do something different to try to get through those few minutes patiently.)
6.) With regular, consistent practice over time, insha Allah it’ll get easier. And when that happens, you can incrementally raise the time of these periods – maybe to ten minutes, then twenty, and so on – until it becomes so easy and routine that sabr is your natural habit in such situations.
Even those who aren’t Muslim know that ‘patience is a virtue’. But, knowing all we do about it – both in the worldly and spiritual senses – shouldn’t we be the best of those who truly live this great virtue?
By doing so, we not only earn tremendous reward, but we also gain in this world via greater productivity and ultimately, greater success.
Granted, it may not be easy to develop sabr but it is a virtue well worth developing. Share how you practice Sabr during trying times so that we may benefit from each other.
Source: Procuctive Muslim
Quastion & Answer
”Could you tell me some of the verses and ahaadeeth that speak of the virtue of patience?”
Praise be to Allah
Allah has made patience like a horse that never gets tired, an army that can never be defeated and a strong fortress that can never be breached. Patience and victory are twin brothers, for victory comes with patience, relief comes with distress and ease comes with hardship. Patience is of more help to the one who has it than men, as it helps without any need for equipment or numbers and its relationship to victory is like that of the head to the body.
In the Qur’aan, Allaah has guaranteed those who are patient that He will give them reward without measure.
He tells them that He is with them by guiding and supporting them and granting them a clear victory. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Surely, Allaah is with those who are As‑Saabiroon (the patient)” [al-Anfaal 6:46]
Allaah has made leadership in terms of religion conditional upon patience and certain faith, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And We made from among them (Children of Israel), leaders, giving guidance under Our Command, when they were patient and used to believe with certainty in Our Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.)” [al-Sajdah 32:34]
Allaah tells us that patience is better for those who are patient, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“But if you endure patiently, verily, it is better for As‑Saabiroon (the patient)” [al-Nahl 16:126]
Allaah tells us if we are patient and pious, the plot of the enemy cannot do any harm, even if he is powerful, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“But if you remain patient and become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious), not the least harm will their cunning do to you. Surely, Allaah surrounds all that they do” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:120]
Allaah tells us that the patience and piety of his Prophet Yoosuf brought him to a position of power and strength, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, he who fears Allaah with obedience to Him (by abstaining from sins and evil deeds, and by performing righteous good deeds), and is patient, then surely, Allaah makes not the reward of the Muhsinoon (good‑doers) to be lost” [Yoosuf 12:90]
Allaah has connected success to patience and piety, and the believers understand that. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe! Endure and be more patient (than your enemy), and guard your territory by stationing army units permanently at the places from where the enemy can attack you, and fear Allaah, so that you may be successful” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:200]
Allaah tells us that He loves those who are patient, and that is the greatest encouragement. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And Allaah loves As-Saabiroon (the patient)” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:146]
Allaah has given glad tidings of three things to those who are patient, each of which is better than that for which the people of this world envy one another. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“but give glad tidings to As‑ Saabiroon (the patient).
”Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: ‘Truly, to Allaah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.’ They are those on whom are the Salawaat (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones” [al-Baqarah 2:155-157]
Allaah exhorts His slaves to seek help with patience and prayer when facing calamities that may befall a person. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And seek help in patience and As-Salaah (the prayer) and truly, it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khaashi‘oon [i.e. the true believers in Allaah — those who obey Allaah with full submission, fear much from His punishment, and believe in His Promise (Paradise) and in His Warnings (Hell)]” [al-Baqarah 2:54]
Allaah states that the victory of attaining Paradise and being saved from Hell will be won only by those who are patient, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, I have rewarded them this Day for their patience; they are indeed the ones that are successful” [al-Mu’minoon 23:111]
Allaah tells us that the desire to earn His reward and to turn away from this world and its adornments is attained only by those who are patient and are believers. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“But those who had been given (religious) knowledge said: “Woe to you! The reward of Allaah (in the Hereafter) is better for those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and this none shall attain except those who are As‑Saabiroon (the patient in following the truth)” [al-Qasas 28:80]
Allaah tells us that repelling evil with that which is better makes the evildoer become like a close friend. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better (i.e. Allaah orders the faithful believers to be patient at the time of anger, and to excuse those who treat them badly) then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend,” – ”But this is something that “none is granted it (the above quality) except those who are patient — and none is granted it except the owner of the great portion (of happiness in the Hereafter, i.e., Paradise and of a high moral character) in this world” [Fussilat 41: 34/35].
Allaah tells us, and reinforces it with an oath, (interpretation of the meaning):
“By Al‑‘Asr (the time).
Verily, man is in loss,
Except those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth [i.e. order one another to perform all kinds of good deeds (Al‑Ma‘roof) which Allaah has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al‑Munkar) which Allaah has forbidden], and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allaah’s Cause during preaching His religion of Islamic Monotheism or Jihad).” [al-‘Asr 103]
Allaah will divide His creation into two categories: those who are on the right hand and those who are on the left hand (cf. al-Waaqi’ah 56:8ff); those who are on the right hand are those who recommend one another to patience and mercy.
Allaah has chosen the people of patience and gratitude to benefit from His signs and be distinguished by this great good fortune. He says in four places in His Book (interpretation of the meaning):
“Truly, therein are Ayaat (evidences, proofs and signs) for every patient, thankful (person)” [Ibraahem 14:5; Luqmaan 31:31; Saba 24:19; al-Shoora 42:33]
Allaah has made forgiveness and reward conditional upon doing righteous deeds and being patient, and that is easy for the one for whom He makes it easy. Allaah says:
“Except those who show patience and do righteous good deeds: those, theirs will be forgiveness and a great reward (Paradise)” [Hood 11:11]
Allaah tells us that patience and forgiveness are among the things recommended by Allaah and those who pay heed to this will never lose, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And verily, whosoever shows patience and forgives, that would truly be from the things recommended by Allaah” [al-Shoora 42:34]
Allaah commanded His Messenger to wait patiently for His Decision, and told him that his patience is not but from Him, and by virtue of patience all calamities become easy, as He said (interpretation of the meaning):
“So wait patiently (O Muhammad) for the Decision of your Lord, for verily, you are under Our Eyes” [al-Toor 52:48]
And He said (interpretation of the meaning):
“And endure you patiently (O Muhammad), your patience is not but from Allaah. And grieve not over them (polytheists and pagans), and be not distressed because of what they plot.
”Truly, Allaah is with those who fear Him (keep their duty unto Him), and those who are Muhsinoon (good‑doers)” [al-Nahl 16:127]
Patience is the foundation of the believer’s faith which has no other foundation. The one who has no patience has no faith, and if he has any, then it is only a little faith and it is very weak, and such a person worships Allaah as it were upon the edge (i.e. in doubt): if good befalls him, he is content therewith; but if a trial befalls him he turns back on his face (i.e. reverts to disbelief after embracing Islam). He loses both this world and the Hereafter (cf. al-Hajj 22:11). All he gets from them is a losing deal.
The best life is attained by the blessed through patience, and they rise to the highest degrees through their gratitude. So they fly on the wings of patience and gratitude to gardens of delight (i.e., Paradise). That is the bounty of Allaah that He bestows upon whomsoever He will, and Allaah is the Owner of Great Bounty. End quote from ‘Uddat al-Saabireen by Ibn al-Qayyim, p. 3-5.
With regard to the ahaadeeth which speak of the virtue of patience, they include the following:
Al-Bukhaari (1496) and Muslim (1053) narrated that Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:
”The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “…whoever is patient Allaah will bestow patience upon him, and no one is ever given anything better and more generous than patience.”
And Muslim (918) narrated that Umm Salamah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (S) say:
“There is no Muslim who is stricken with a calamity and says what Allaah has enjoined – ‘Verily to Allaah we belong and unto Him is our return. O Allaah, reward me for my affliction and compensate me with something better’ – but Allaah will compensate him with something better.”
And Muslim (2999) narrated that Suhayb (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:
”The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.”
For more ahaadeeth about the virtue of patience and exhortation to be patient, please see al-Targheeb wa’l-Tarheeb by al-Mundhiri (4/274-302).
‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:
”Allaah has not bestowed any blessing upon His slaves then taken it away and replaced it with patience, but what He has compensated them with is better than what He has taken away.”
And Allaah knows best.
The Virtues of Sabr (Patience)
By Fadia Bint Ismail
”Seek help through Sabr and Salaah.” (Quran 2:45).
The word Sabr, is the Islamic virtue of “patience or “endurance”. Sabr teaches us to remain spiritually steadfast. The Virtues of Sabr (Patience) also teaches us that hardships and ease are a trail for us.
Sabr does not just mean patience, the word Sabr stems into many different categories, it includes self control, perseverance, endurance and forbearance. Being patient gives us control in situations that we have little or no control over.
The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also said, “No one has been given anything more excellent and more comprehensive than sabr”
With respect to its degrees, patience can be divided into six categories: showing patience for the sake of Allah; showing patience and attributing it to Allah (being convinced that Allah enables one to show patience); enduring patiently whatever comes from Allah, knowing that He acts from His Wisdom; being resigned to whatever happens in the way of Allah; showing patience by not disclosing the mysteries of one’s achieved spiritual station and to preserve one’s nearness to Allah; and resolving to fulfill one’s mission of communicating Allah’s Message to people despite one’s deepest desire to die and meet with Allah.
Characteristics of Sabr (Patience)
“I only complain of my distraction and anguish to Allah.” (Yusuf 12:86).
Self control- Self restraint
Psychologically speaking every person has two forces at work within himself. One is the “Driving force” which pushes him towards certain actions and he other is the “restraining force” which holds him back.
Patience essentially harnesses the driving force to push us towards good things, and the restraining force to hold us back from actions that may be harmful to ourselves or others.
Patience means control of mind. Suppose if somebody is angry with you or hurts you verbally, it is the mental patience that will give you the strength to bear it with silence. The strength to bear or endure any difficulties or words hurled at you is patience. In domestic or marital life to cultivate patience is of great importance. To maintain peace and happiness in the house one needs to have immense patience with your life-partner and also children.
The same applies towards the family members and people you come across in everyday life. In our daily life we meet various types of people. Some may be extremely good and some impolite. The situation must be dealt with absolute patience. Patience has its own rewards. Your silence in reply to somebody’s retort will not aggravate the situation more. It will automatically end there.
A scholar said: “To have patience means that one’s common sense and religious motives are stronger than one’s whims and desires.” It is natural for people to have an inclination towards their desires, but common sense and the religious motive should limit that inclination. The two forces are at war: sometimes reason and religion win, and sometimes whims and desires prevail.
Other forms of Patience
Patience has many other names, according to the situation.
- If patience consists of restraining cardinal desires, it is called honor, the opposite of which is adultery and promiscuity.
- Restraining cardinal desires. It is called honor and the opposite of which is adultery and promiscuity.
- Controlling one’s stomach. It is then called self control and the opposite which is greed.
- Being content with what is sufficient for one’s needs.
- Refraining from haste being grateful and steadfast and not being hotheaded.
- Refraining from running away and being courageous and not being cowardly or seek revenge towards others
Different names may be applied to patience in different situations, but all are covered by the idea of patience. This shows that Islam in its totality is based on patience.
May we all seek to apply patience through our daily lives. Insha’ Allah
The Virtues of Patience
Imaam Ahmad (d.241H) said,
“Allaah has mentioned sabr (patient perseverance) in over ninety places in His Book.”
[Related by Ibnul-Qayyim in Madaarijus-Saalikeen (2/152).]
And there occurs in the authentic hadeeth,
“Sabr (patient perseverance) is light.”
[Related by Muslim (no. 223) and Ahmad (5/343), from Aboo Maalik al-Ash’aree (radiyallaahu ’anhu).]
The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) also said,
“No one has been given anything more excellent and more comprehensive than sabr.”
[Related by al-Bukhaaree (no. 1469) and Muslim (no. l053), from Aboo Sa’eed al-Khudree (radiyallâhu ’anhu).]
’Umar – radiyallaahu ’anhu – said,
“We considered the best part of our lives to be that in which there was sabr.”
[Related by al-Bukhaaree (1 l/303) in ta’leeq form, and it has been related in connected form by Imaam Ahmad in az-Zuhd with a Saheeh isnaad – as al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar mentioned in Fathul-Baaree (11/303).]
’Alee – radiyallaahu ’anhu – said,
“Indeed sabr is from eemaan (faith). Its position is like that of the head with respect to the rest of the body.” Then he raised his voice and said, “Verily, there is no eemaan (faith) for the one who has no sabr.”
[Related by al-Laalikaa‘ee in Sharh Usool I’tiqaad Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah (no. 1659), al-Bayhaqee in Shu’abul-Eemaan and Abee Shaybaan in Kitaabul-Eemaan (no. 130), with a slightly different wording.]
The Meaning of Patience
The word sabr (in the Arabic language) is from sabara – to be patient and to persevere, and it indicates to holding back and restraining oneself. (In the Sharee’ah sense) it implies: restraining the soul from being agitated; restraining the tongue from complaining and restraining the hands from slapping the cheeks, tearing the clothes and doing other similar actions. This has been mentioned by Ibnul-Qayyim (d.750H).
[Madaarijus-Saalikeen (2/156) of Ibnul-Qayyim.]
And know that sabr (patient perseverance) is of three kinds:
- Sabr whilst (fulfilling) the orders of Allaah,
- Sabr whilst (abandoning and keeping away) from the prohibitions of Allaah, and
- Sabr with the Decree of Allaah with respect to afflictions and difficulties.
Source: Pearls of Islam